It was so easy to buy my kids toys when they were younger, but when they became middle schoolers I had no idea what they wanted!
Well, I did know they wanted tech, but wasn’t there other kinds of toys and gifts that middle schoolers would love?
So we did a ton of research.
I found gifts to encourage creativity, learning, self-discovery, reading, healthy eating, parent-child connection, and outdoor play.
And the best part?
All these are from Amazon, they all have a 4+ rating from tons of reviews and most are available through free 2-day prime shipping, so even if you are shopping at the very last minute, you might still be able to get them in time!
Editor’s Note: Also check out our other guides
Alright, here we go –
Gifts for Decor & Self-Love
Fun Tortilla Throw Blanket
Let your child literally become a burrito with this warm, snugly throw blanket. Fun and totally awesome; over 40,000 other Amazon buyers think so too!
Water Resistant Light-up Keyboard
We don’t often have tech gifts, but with the amount of time teens are having to spend on computers, this seemed on brand. This is also known as a gaming keyboard and it lights up in a different array of color schemes (with some reactive ones!), it is water resistant, and it is whisper quiet so you don’t hear the keys clacking away in the next room over.
Light-up Computer Mouse
For when the laptop mouse control pad gets annoying, this is a great alternative. It also has 6 programmable buttons and you can get one with an array of different options. If you already have a kid that’s into computers, this may be a great addition to his or her setup!
Galaxy Moon Lamp
Color changing and USB-charging, this remote-controlled moon lamp could be an excellent addition to any child or teen’s room. They can change it to display any colors they want or set it to automatically change!
Now your kid can be high speed with a classy wallet to hold his new school ID and allowance! With lots of options to choose from, you’ll likely find a good pattern or color for your child. The Velcro secures the contents and there’s a zippered pouch inside to hold coins or small items.
Have a teen that loves to sleep? These wearable blanket hoodies are so comfortable, soft and warm. Great for the weekends, sporting events or cold excursions, sleep or nap time!
Hanging Neon Lights
Let your child enjoy a neon sign to enjoy in the evenings! With a host of different shapes, these have become a hit for my kids, especially as the “before bed” lighting. They’re easy to hang and great for teen boys and girls.
Iron Flask Water Bottle
Great for long days in the backpack, this sweat-free bottle will keep drinks cold for 24 hours — and they come with three different lid styles so your kid can choose! They also come in a host of colors and sizes so you can get exactly what you want.
Bluetooth Speaker/Alarm Clock
This is a great kid’s all-in-one where they can bluetooth (or direct plug-in) music over the speaker, set the alarm and the clock, and set the light color on for their chosen ambience! It’s also battery charged so you can move it wherever you like and then charge it up again.
Flower Floor Cushion
Is your kid one of those that’s constantly laying and sitting on the floor? These are handy to have to cushion elbows and bodies when they’re down there. Also great as an accent to a chair or bed, they are easy to toss around and flop onto!
Plush Round Rug
Choose from a host of colors, this plush round rug can give a pop of color to a kid’s room and give them a place to play, keep their feet warm while doing homework, or play with the pet. Easy to vacuum and wipe clean.
Gifts the Encourage Creativity
Smartivity STEM Music Machine Kits
For the STEM lover, these kits are very fun to put together and even more fun to use once completed. That’s what sets these kits apart; once my son put together the music machine, he was then able to endlessly make different songs and music with it. There are lots of cars, marble tracks and torque sets, so check out one that fits your child’s style!
3D Printing Pen (& Refills)
The epitome of creativity! This is like sculpting with a pen. From basic little designs to epic creations, this pen could provide hours of creative fun. If you have a budding artist or want to encourage spatial or 3d thinking, this may be a great addition to your crafting toolbox.
National Geographic Science Magic Kit
National Geographic has excellent kits for science exploration, including this one! With clear instructions and quick explanations of the science involved, this is equal parts learning and fun. Everything is in the box as well, so you don’t have to raid your pantry to start experimenteng!
Infinity Gauntlet Lego Kit
Is your kid into the Marvel universe? This may be a great kit for your child to build and put on display. When this gauntlet is complete, you can bend the fingers to pose it (just know that you can’t wear it).
3D Coloring Puzzles
If you have a creative artist who loves mandalas or intricate designs, this is an excellent set to enjoy. Your kid can then morpth their work of art into a 3D puzzle to proudly display!
Wooden Marble Roller Coaster
This can be both an art and STEM creation; you can color the coaster parts before assembly to make a truly wild marble run, and it’s basically a 3d puzzle that you can use after putting it together. No glue or screws needed!
Here’s a bluetooth microphone with vocal and music volume controls, a recording function (with SD card!), rechargeable battery and lights! It can also double as a bluetooth speaker. Let your young stars rock out with this!
Lego Architecture Kits
Lego is such a great toy for learning about building. Their architecture kits are even more detailed and they educate kids about the beautiful designs of many of the world’s most famous buildings.
82-piece Deluxe Art Set
This art set really is deluxe. It has oil pastels, water color bricks, colored pencils, crayons, paint brushes and two sketch pencils. Plus it comes in a large case to keep it all organized when it take it along with you.
Car Model Building Kits
Model building kits are wonderful for kids who have trouble accessing their more creative side. They take actual things – cars, airplanes, ships, etc – and the kids get to build them and paint them. It’s very satisfying and self-esteem building to make something out of a smattering of parts in a box.
Making YouTube Videos: Star in Your Own Video! (Dummies Junior)
Youtube videos are a unique way for kids to explore their creativity. They can write their own scripts for movies, make an informational video (like Crash Course), or put together an instructional video (like any of the knitting or cooking videos out there). Making these videos can be extremely empowering and really boost their self-confidence.
LED Colorful Flashing Finger Lighting Gloves
Light-up gloves are tons of fun for teens. They can experiment with them in the dark, use them as movie props, or make fun patterns at a school dance. Plus they can be used when they are walking home from school during the darker times of the year, making sure your teen is seen by passing cars.
Tie Dye Kit
We made tie dyed t-shirts during our yearly visit to summer camp. I was always disappointed when I ran out of t-shirts to dye. It was so much fun to pick out the different colors and twisting patterns I didn’t want to stop. This kit comes with 18 different colors and a guide with 8 different patterns to choose from.
Draw 50 Animals
If your teen loved to draw when they were little this is the book for them. It gives specific techniques and tips on how to make their drawings more accurate and life-like. This knowledge can stop them from getting discouraged and giving up drawing.
We have magnetic poetry on our fridge. It is so much fun to piece together poems and ideas and it’s even more fun to see what your children write. These magnets are a great catalyst for your child’s creativity.
Adult Coloring Book
Teens still like to color, but they don’t like the same coloring books that their younger siblings are into. Paw Patrol isn’t going to do it for a thirteen year old. This is why I was so happy the adult coloring craze hit. The pictures are so much more intricate and the complexity is appealing to older kids.
You might think all colored pencils are the same, but you would be wrong. Montessori schools everywhere recommend Prismacolor because the leads are softer allowing their work to appear more vibrant and the flow of the pencil on the paper to be more fluid. These are so nice to use they will definitely inspire your child’s creativity.
Multi-Surface Paint Pens
These are amazing. Oil-based paint in an easy-to-use pen form. You can use it to paint anywhere and on anything. Your teen can decorate their binder or backpack or even make a personalize gift for a friend or teacher.
Embroidery is another great way for your child to express their creativity. Embroidering allows them to make pictures out of thread and cloth. It can be taken along anywhere. Plus it helps them to further develop their fine motor control and mental focus.
Counted Cross Stitch
If embroidery seems a bit daunting, think about getting your child a cross stitch kit. It appeals to those kids who need at little more structure and guidance with their creativity, as well as to those children who want to create intricate pictures.
String Art Book Kit
This creativity box highlights the art in hammering and nailing. Kids can put in nails in a pattern and then run string around the nails to create pictures. Once they learn the basics they can use materials they find in the garage to design and create their own string art!
Yarn Tree Jewelry Organizer Kit
This is like two gifts in one. Your child will create their own yarn tree and then use it to organize their jewelry. It is simple to create, which leave your child feeling successful and empowered.
Inspire Poster Kit
Tweens and teens crave self-expression. They also crave making their rooms a reflection of who they are and what they want to become. This poster kit not only does all of that, it also provides them with a daily inspiration to go out and be the best person they can be. I kind of wish I had this when I was 12.
DIY Journaling Set
I love this journaling set because it is set up to help your child learn how to bullet journal. (If you don’t know what that is, check out this youtube video.) Everyone has different organizational and journaling needs. This one has a bunch of other stuff in it – like washi tape, stamps, and stickers – to empower them to express their creativity in more ways than just getting words on the page. Perfect for your reluctant writer.
DIY Scrapbook Kit
Scrapbooks are so cute! They are even cuter when you flip through them after a few years. This scrapbook gives them everything they need to preserve what is important to them now and what will become precious memories later.
DIY Lip Balm Kit
It’s creative science! This kit comes with shea butter, coconut butter, and essential oils and everything else your kids need to make their own lip balm. They can make it for themselves or they can make it as a gift for their friend.
Bath Bomb Making Kit
More creative science! And this kit makes these bath bombs so easy to make. The essential oils are 100% pure and it comes all the ingredients necessary. Once they have made a few of these they’ll feel more empowered to try other science kits.